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Model S fire?

Model S fire?

Appears to have been in an accident. Wonder what caught fire. Something flammable in the frunk?

http://jalopnik.com/this-is-what-fiery-tesla-model-s-death-looks-like-14...

sunbingfa | 2 oktober 2013

Yeah. I saw that news too. Hope it's not the battery because the fire seem to come out from bottom.....

Maybe it affect the stock either? TSLA down ~4% now.

Anyone has more information?

GDH | 2 oktober 2013

Damn that was horrible. Cars catch fire all the time though so I am not worried.

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

It's amazing how little can be found on the web about this fire.

I agree that cars catch fire regularly; however, it's quite rare for them to be new cars... especially if the new car does not have fuel, engine oil, or a hot exhaust system. Most car fires start in the engine compartment (hence the firewall). I am really interested to get more details here. Was it an accident? Was something flammable in the frunk? If electrical, what component was the cause? I'm sure there are many explanations, but I will sleep better once we know the actual cause.

Please post if anyone finds more info.

tomkist | 2 oktober 2013

It looks like there's some spillage, as the fire is spread a number of feet beyond the car. Melted, flowing battery? Tires melted into a film? I know nothing about car fires. Anyone know what it might be?

Andrew_OH_S60andS70D | 2 oktober 2013
AmpedRealtor | 2 oktober 2013

The most telling item is the shredded metal of the hood. No electrical fire would do that. My vote is on something explosive in the frunk, specifically a leaking gas canister that found a spark.

oildeathspiral | 2 oktober 2013

Can't verify the accuracy of this post on the Yahoo MB but fwiw:

"TSLA debunked "fire" cover your shorts
Yesterday, a Model S collided with a large object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.
To recap:
· The incident was NOT spontaneous and the incident was contained with the vehicle safety systems performing as designed.
· The sole occupant had ample time to pull over, exit the vehicle, contact authorities and no one was hurt.
· Over the past fifteen months Model S vehicles have been driven 83 million miles, and involved in a dozen accidents, with only a singular incident – rather typical for the auto industry.
· While Tesla does not provide updates on vehicle order flow – we expect to be asked for an update on order rates and any impact from this incident on our Q3’13 earnings call. tsla investor relations"

GeekEV | 2 oktober 2013

Update from Tesla posted to the article:

“Yesterday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.”

That almost sounds like the fire was caused by sparks from the metallic object being dragged along the road. Perhaps catching the felt wheel well liners on fire. That does seem to be where the flames are coming from.

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

That same statement was added as an update to the original Jalopnik article as well, so it seems like an official Tesla response.

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

GeekEV beat me to it.

fbramble | 2 oktober 2013

“Yesterday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.”

portia | 2 oktober 2013

I don't see what Regen setting in the Forbes article has to do with anything?
If you scroll down and expand the update, you will see this quote from Tesla,

“Yesterday, a Model S collided with a large metallic object in the middle of the road, causing significant damage to the vehicle. The car’s alert system signaled a problem and instructed the driver to pull over safely, which he did. No one was injured, and the sole occupant had sufficient time to exit the vehicle safely and call the authorities. Subsequently, a fire caused by the substantial damage sustained during the collision was contained to the front of the vehicle thanks to the design and construction of the vehicle and battery pack. All indications are that the fire never entered the interior cabin of the car. It was extinguished on-site by the fire department.”

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

@GeekEV: I don't think that dragging the metallic object would signal the car to a problem. My bet is that the large metallic object punctured the battery pack, and the cooling system was rendered useless. The good news is that all safety systems and alerts worked as planned.

eepic | 2 oktober 2013

@Andrew_OH_Tesla
That article is a few weeks old and doesn't provide any information on this mysterious fire. Tesla has stated that no production battery to date has ever caught fire, not even the ones used in crash testing.

Looking at the pictures and video, the fire seems to be limited to the front of the car and may not be related to the main battery pack in the floor of the car. Possible causes could be (pure speculation on my part) :
- The 12V lead-acid battery (the one similar to most ICE cars)
- Electronics/wiring, there was that Roadster recall years ago citing a fire hazard
- Something flammable in the frunk

Contrary to the headline, I'm actually glad to see the battery not explode and/or proceed on a self-propagating thermal runaway despite being in a roaring fire. The passive coolant 'goo' design seems to be working well.

GeekEV | 2 oktober 2013

@Longhorn92 - No, but a fire probably would! Look at the pictures and the title frame used for the video. All coming from the wheels... But then again, that's probably the only point where the flames really could exit.

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

@eepic: read the post before yours. Tesla has stated that it was a large metallic object in the road that cause the problem. It was likely a battery pack fire caused by a breach from the metallic object.

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

I meant posts.

eepic | 2 oktober 2013

Well it looks like the explanation came out as I was typing. Glad to hear the driver was safe despite a nasty accident!

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

@GeekEV: good point, but I agree that they likely designed the car such that any fire would be lead away from the cabin.

However, I still bet on the battery pack breach. I think Tesla would have stated in their release that the battery pack never caught fire if it didn't.

eepic | 2 oktober 2013

@Longhorn92 Yea between the time I opened the thread, read the posts, and typed my response I was already way behind, guess I'm just slow =T

Longhorn92 | 2 oktober 2013

More proof positive that this car is a tank, especially if the fire never entered the cabin as they seem to think.

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

Step 1) Buy a Tesla
Step 2) Short TSLA
Step 3) Set the Tesla on fire
Step 4) ????
Step 5) PROFIT!!!

JZ13 | 2 oktober 2013

Whity - interesting twist. Although I doubt the fire was intentional you have come up with a creative theory.

GeekEV | 2 oktober 2013

@Whity - LOL

@Longhorn92 - Possibly, that would be my next guess. But given the way the pack is designed (there's a great thread on it over at the TMC site) it seems unlikely that penetration of the pack would result in fire.

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

who knows, what was in the frunk?

Eleonor2002 | 2 oktober 2013

Or what was 'large metallic object '...

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

'large metallic object' is a strange description, isn't it? The whole thing is strange?

Fredlambert | 2 oktober 2013

ICE can caught fire too

http://i.imgur.com/sBcU8cN.gif

ajkim26 | 2 oktober 2013

how did the kids in the vid know it was a "new car" without seeing anything other
than flames at that angle?

nomoDinos @ca.us | 2 oktober 2013

By "large metallic object" they meant "can full of gasoline".

ironhacker | 2 oktober 2013

Notes on the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0kjI08n4fg

  • Flammable substance on the ground in front of the car. If it is electrolyte, how did that much of it get so far out front? Cells are small and isolated, right?
  • At 14 seconds, there is a small explosion you can see and hear that appears to originate on or near the ground in front of the car. It happens right after the commentator says "brand new car".
PSP | 2 oktober 2013

citron made it up... they wanted to get out of their short positions. burning one 100K tesla could have saved their millions :-)

WayneH | 2 oktober 2013

Hmm... after weeks of reading about this car and visiting a Tesla showroom last week I was just getting ready to pull the trigger on buying but I think I will wait to see what the real cause of this fire was. It is a concern. The other stuff, GPS, camber, etc I was not that concerned about.

Albert B | 2 oktober 2013

@WayneH - If waiting makes you feel better, sure.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. There are lots of car fires every day, and there's no indication that this was anything other than an incident that could have happened to any car.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The fire was isolated to the front of the car. If the battery pack had been involved in a significant way* things would have been much more...spectacular.

*Which would require all of Tesla's clever design in mitigating such things to have failed.

oildeathspiral | 2 oktober 2013

I would rather hit whatever that object was with a Model S and have it's battery pack stay even partially intact as opposed to an ICE with a gas tank where the fuel can spread and burn over a much wider area, not to mention explode.

We just had 5 teens killed in a fiery car crash. While they were speeding and possibly drinking, it appears the fire that resulted may have been the cause of death. One girl did survive after being pulled "from the burning wreckage".

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-deliveryman-recalls-pulling-...

JZ13 | 2 oktober 2013

83 million miles driven in the Model S and this is the 1st fire. That is an oustanding fact. I bet that ratio is far better than ICE cars.

carlk | 2 oktober 2013

I would still go with my plan to purchase a Model S unless someone can point to me any ICE car that do not carry a gasoline tank with it.

July10Models | 2 oktober 2013

iIt looks like electrical arcing at the front of the vehicle. There are battery disconnects near the firewall in the frunk. it is possible the collision with the unidentified metallic object caused a sever short circuit at the battery high voltage cables in or near the frunk.The plastic liner and carpeting in the frunk may have ignited from the heating of the shorted high voltage cables causing the flames and smoke. The subsequent explosion maybe the shorted cables being burned clean, reopened causing the flash in the video.

jen | 2 oktober 2013

I wondered how the kid in the video knew it was a new car too. Was impressed the kid even knew it was a Tesla and made certain to say it in the video - seemed a little staged. I have to wonder if this video is even legit? The sources can't really be substantiated and I have not found an "official" statement by Tesla -- on this website. I have read so many articles over the last months where these journalists facts are totally wrong on Tesla - so I am not going to give them credit so easily for having their facts straight on this one.
Also it's crossed my mind that someone shorted/put the stock and posted a phoney video to make a ton of money. I'd like to know what was in the frunk too.

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

shure, it can be a usual accident with fire and it is the first bla bla bla.. but

- Tesla did a lot of testing *****
-what was the metal object? Photo?
-what was in the frunk?

If the story grows out to main media, tesla with return with rebuilding the accidentsituation or some spin, but if it just dissappears, I'll assume, it is a fake.

could be

carlk | 2 oktober 2013

@jen Agreed. Whether it's real, fake, happened, did not happen, what happened and why....I'm sure Tesla will make an official statement. Let's wait for that before drawing any conclusions.

coll1951 | 2 oktober 2013

I read Tesla's press release on the large object in the roadway, but the Washington Highway patrol officer said, there was no object in the roadway. He's obviously lying, because the Tesla guys in Palo Alto, know exactly what happened. The Tesla guys, also told the driver to exit the car, they thought he might wait until the fire department arrived.

That video was amazing. The driver must having been carrying a couple full 5 gallon gasoline containers.

I see BMW's, Mercedes' and Porsche's burning like this all the time, on the side of the expressway.

I'm buying more stock tomorrow, it's a steal at these prices.

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

look at 0:24... the rearaxle is broken AND the front wheel is black or virtually gone. Nobody make photographs, no one... although it should be a big story to see a burning Tesla...the timing of the clip and the over-amateurlook.. I like Tesla News, but it's getting hot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0kjI08n4fg

earlyretirement | 2 oktober 2013

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/10/02/tesla-fire-stock-fal...

Make USA Today.

This is one of those reasons why although I LOVE the company and my Model S and reserved the X I think it's nuts investing at these multiples.....and valuation.

It's priced for perfection and even if someone wanted to manipulate the stock all they need to do is probably stage something and the stock can take a HUGE swing down.

ajkim26 | 2 oktober 2013

If Tesla succeeds, the illuminati, if there is one, is doomed.

Remove the tin foil hat and you still have very real old school power structures at risk here.

No more gas stations? As in ever again?
We all know of a powerful few who might hate that idea.

No more gas cars? Ever?
Same as above.

Getting people to expect more/better in general?

Not shocked if this is a fake or staged.

If it is real, would like to see a gas car do this well in a fire of that size.

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

"they" try to stop them or even to slow them down. Video could be faked- not easy, but doable. The fire sometimes looks like masked on the outside and the wheels have strange jumps in perspective.
Watch closely at 0:23 and at 0:24 and than 0:26. This is an objectiv hint for a clear fake. What do You think?

BTW: Lightflash 0:15 looks like a cheap one-time-effect exactly after they guy is talking...

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

"C-O-N-S-P-I-R-I-C-Y" ... haha, maybe it is a special viralclip from George B.

I'm so excited to hear next statements of Tesla.

BTW-One thing is clear: A frontCam would've been a nice addon in this case ;) .. now we have no photo of the U.M.O. (unidentified metal object)

bronto | 2 oktober 2013

Wow, so many conspiracy theorists! What's next? The MS, driven by Elvis, ran over Big Foot who was running away from Lee Harvey Oswald? The impact with Big Foot caused his hair to catch fire which caused the explosion.

How about a more rational explanation: like something real and discoverable damaged the car and it caught fire? These things can happen and it doesn't mean there is any fault assignable to Tesla. There will be a full investigation by the highway patrol and I'm sure Tesla (after examining every tiny piece of information from the on board data recorder) will check every bolt, rivet and weld before they make a statement about what happened. Until then, it's all 100% speculation.

If anything, this is a good time to buy TSLA with this gross over-reaction!

David N | 2 oktober 2013

Want to know what happened?
Ask the driver

Whity Whiteman | 2 oktober 2013

"The incident happened Tuesday after 8 a.m. as the driver was traveling southbound on state Route 167, said Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol. He said the driver stated that he believed he had struck some debris on the highway, triggering the fire, but a trooper who responded to the scene was unable to locate any objects on the roadway.

"The video posted on YouTube shows the front of the Tesla Model S in flames. It was first posted on car fan site Jalopnik which wrote that it came from a reader. Tesla shares have risen more than 400% since the start of the year so the damage to the stock, unlike to the car in the video, was minor."

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